Saturday, March 14, 2020

Calculus March Madness





I have wanted to do a review activity centered around some type of "Math Madness" competition for a long time, but couldn't quite figure out the logistics of how to make it work.  I was inspired by a post on the AP Calculus Facebook Teachers Group and I decided to give this a try in my classroom.

Here's what I did...

First, it was important to me to keep each student involved in this activity for as long as possible, so I decided to have a Double Elimination Tournament.  I have 22 students in Calculus AB, so I googled 22 team double elimination brackets, and found a perfect bracket already made at Print Your Brackets.




I struggled as to how I should place students in the bracket...should I seed them just like the real March Madness competition?  But then I decided...this is just supposed to be fun, so I decided to fill in the bracket in real time right in front of the class.  I used flippity.com to choose one name at a time from my class list and had one of the students fill in the bracket as I went.  This generated excitement and let the students know I wasn't playing favorites :)

I just put the brackets on my white board...if I knew I would always have the same number of students in my class, I would have a big write on/wipe off poster made of the size brackets I need, but who knows?

After I had the brackets filled in, it was time to start the first round.  I arranged all of the desks in groups of 2 facing each other.  I had students put one of their phones in the middle of the two desks.  The phone was used as a stopwatch.  I distributed a copy of the first round of questions to everyone face down on the desks.

Here is an example of what my questions looked like:


When I said go, students turned over their questions and answered them as quickly and accurately as they could.  When a student finished, he or she turned their paper over and wrote the time on the back.  (This is to determine who won in the case of a tie).  When everyone finished, I read the answers and the students graded their own work.  I depended on the honor system...students were watching each other anyway, and they all wanted to win and wouldn't tolerate someone who was changing their answers.


Once we determined the winners from the first round, we filled in the spaces on the bracket on the board and moved to the next round.  Since this was a double - elimination tournament, all students were still included in this round.  The second round was finding derivatives.


We continued through several more rounds.  As we continued, some students were eliminated.  They were still expected to work on the questions given in subsequent rounds, but they just weren't competing anymore.

Depending on the size of your class, you may or may not be able to complete this competition all in one day.

I have enough questions for 8 total rounds of Math Madness.

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